Maca root, also known as Peruvian Ginseng, is a root vegetable from the radish family. It only grows high up in the Andean slopes, at elevations of 12,000 to 15,000 feet above sea level, making it the highest altitude growing plant in the world.
Maca was discovered when Incan farmers saw their animals grazing upon it, and noticed that they seemed to be healthier, more able-bodied, and were mating more often. This sparked their interest and led them to think that maybe the same results could be reaped for humans if they tried some.
So, they decided to give it a whirl and find out for themselves. It’s now been traditionally respected for thousands of years by South Americans as a hormone balancer, stress-reducer, and a fertility booster.
This root is commonly taken in either powder (for those of you that might enjoy adding it to a cup of coffee or a smoothie), liquid, or capsule form.
Eating it in its powder form alone may taste like stale cookies, some would say. If you’re on-the-go and do not have time to make any foofy beverages, it’s easy to pop back a maca pill. Butterscotch craving? Take a whiff of maca and be fulfilled- it smells just like it.
If you need a little pep in your step, maca is great for an energy boost, regardless of the way in which you choose to consume it.
Maca is also considered a superfood, as it is loaded with minerals such as calcium, potassium, and iron, to name a few. It also boasts up to 20 essential fatty acids and has notable amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. This herb works hand-in-hand with the master glands of the body- the hypothalamus and pituitary, which is how it’s able to balance the body’s hormones.
Now that we’ve gotten through all that, you can start dancing the maca-rena!
Information Every Informed Buyer Should Know when Looking for Maca Root Powder Supplements
Maca is named so for its root color - the types can be yellow, black, or red. The color of maca you decide to purchase would depend on which specific health purpose you need it for. According to the color, there are varying health benefits.
For example, yellow maca (the most common), is known for boosting mental focus, and overall health. It’s the majority of the annual harvest, accounting for 60% of production. Black maca comes from gray-colored roots and has the strongest ability to protect the brain, by acting on the neural pathways and networks. It’s also a powerful infection-fighter. This type is only about 15% of the annual harvest, so don’t expect the supermarket shelves to be overflowing with it. Get it while it’s hot! Red maca is beneficial for those of you affected by osteoporosis or prostate problems, as it increases bone density and touches up prostate health.
Another important tidbit when considering how you’ll begin incorporating maca into your life is whether it’s raw or gelatinized. Raw means “very slightly or not cooked at all,” and gelatinized refers to the maca being pre-cooked. Of course, there are differences between the two. First, raw maca never gets heated to higher than 105 degrees, so it keeps most of its enzymes and nutrients.
If you’re prone to stomach irritability, the gelatinized version would be ideal, as it causes minor indigestion in about 5% of those who take it in the raw form.
The gelatin-version has been heated to high temperatures to remove all of the starch. Due to this, its enzymes and nutrients are wiped out. However, most users still positively comment, claiming that they receive alike benefits.
The absence of starch in this kind does make it easy to digest for those of you with a sensitive stomach.
Best Maca Root Powder & Supplements
Viva Naturals Organic Maca Powder
This Viva Naturals Maca Powder offers the yellow version of the superfood. Even though it’s gelatinized, vegans are still able to indulge. Not to worry about horse hooves being added to this recipe – the “gelatinization” refers to the process of the starch removal from the root.
This maca is sourced from Peru and is harvested when it has reached its most dazzling shade of yellow.
Viva Naturals recommends a dose of anywhere between one and three teaspoons daily.
Pros and Cons
- Great for womens PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome)
- Boosts concentration abilities
- Reduces food cravings
- Easy on the stomach
- The bag doesn’t always fully seal
- Some report an overly potent nutty taste
Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder
Terrasoul offers maca in the powdered, gelatinized version. Unlike some companies, this one directly imports (as opposed to using a co-packer) and lab-tests their products. This sounds like an easy decision for a business, but there are some companies that do not properly screen their product shipments, allowing for organisms, dirt, or pathogens to creep their way, say, into a bag of maca.
Terrasoul is one of the biggest wholesale suppliers of organic superfoods in the U.S. Since they work in close cooperation with the farmers, this company can receive the highest quality ingredients at a reasonable value.
This brand offers the maca as a blend of all three roots, the yellow, black, and red. The sourcing of the powder is from Peru, as opposed to China, and according to users, there is a notable difference between the qualities.
Pros and Cons
- Blend of all three root varieties
- USDA Certified Organic and gluten-free
- Noticeable mood-booster
- Great price for the quality
- Not clumpy / dissolves nicely
- Not the best tasting, unless you mix it with coffee or yogurt to mask it
- Not easy to transport due to bag size
Soul Organics Organic Maca Powder From Maca Root
Soul Organics features maca powder in its gelatinized form as well. This company sources all organic ingredients and works directly with small farmers to ensure fair trade practices.
This product comes with a downloadable recipe book for every purchase, which is great because you wouldn’t want to be caught just eating it raw- yuck!
Users of maca powder report glowing skin and seem to be very happy with the results. That would have been useful for me the time I stayed up for two days straight and had bags under my eyes after my flight back home from Puerto Rico had been delayed.
Pros and Cons
- This company plants a tree for every product purchased
- Noticeable increase in energy
- Sex-life enhancer
- Great for menopause relief
- Arrives quickly once ordered
- Some users report an overpowering taste
- Packaging can be tempermental to seal
Navitas Organics Maca Powder
Nativas Organics products are USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO verified, and B Corps certified. If these certifications matter to you, then you may enjoy this option. Also, the facility in California that produces this product is entirely free from allergens. So, the maca isn’t processed alongside gluten, wheat, or dairy products, which may come in handy for you gluten-intolerant readers.
Nativas users report this particular maca root powder supplement tasting less bitter than competing maca brands, and even has a slight butterscotch flavor and aroma. If you’re on a sugar-free diet and craving butterscotch, you could receive an added caramel flavor as a bonus to the numerous health benefits this root has to offer.
Last, but not least, a huge plus for this maca powder is that it relieves users of stress. This herb is an adaptogen, otherwise known as that which relieves the damaging effects of stress. Stress has more than a seemingly superficial effect on the body, it affects us on an internal, cellular level, too.
Pros and Cons
- Not bitter like other maca varietals can be
- Butterscotch flavor/aroma
- Small bag for easy transport
- Some users report aggravation of acid-reflux
- Complaints of gritty texture
BulkSupplements Pure Maca Root Extract Powder
Some users report this brand being more effective than others, and are happy to receive support from BulkSupplements if they do have any concerns.
Pros and Cons
- Users report an overall increase in physical energy
- Pleasant, nutty taste
- Great support from the company
- 4:1 concentration
- Good quality
- Effects were seen over time, not instantly
- Some complaint of burnt smell
NutraChamps Organic Maca Root Powder Capsules
These vegan maca dosages of 1000 milligrams each are a blend of black, red, and yellow maca roots packed into one tiny capsule. You can take up to 2000 milligrams a day, gradually increasing the dose.
Nutrachamps incorporates black pepper into their maca root powder supplements to promote better absorption. I appreciate that feature, considering most other brands offer solely the straight maca powder.
Pros and Cons
- Easy size pill to swallow
- Users are happy to receive benefits of all three root colors
- No bad taste
- No extra fillers or additives
- Users report relief of hot flashes
- No calorie count on label
- Runs out quick, depending on how many capsules you take per day
Kiva Organic Maca Powder
Kiva’s raw organic yellow maca root powder supplement comes in a 16-ounce resealable pouch from the Andes mountains of Peru.
The company is committed to sourcing the highest quality ingredients in a sustainable fashion and assures you that they are minimally processed at low temperatures to preserve the nutrients.
Many users find it delightful to add this to a smoothie-type drink and blend it with yummy ingredients like cacao, honey, coconut oil, and some dairy-free milk.
Pros and Cons
- Sound packaging
- Well-ground into a fine powder
- Effective in calming nerves
- Minimally processed at low temperatures to preserve nutrients
- Vitamins and essential amino acids
- Some say it’s too chalky
- Some users report an odd smell
Divine Organics Raw Peruvian Maca Powder
For you readers that are athletes, maca would be a wonderful protein supplement to add to a pre and post workout drink. This would have been wonderful for me when I ran track in high school and was staying up late at night to study, often waking the following morning wishing I had SOMETHING to boost my energy besides coffee, which would typically leave me with a headache by the end of the day.
This bag may be big, weighing in at two pounds, but it lasts a long time.
Pros and Cons
- Users report much mental clarity
- Great for those of you with chronic fatigue
- Dissolves nicely in a glass of milk
- Speedy delivery to home
- Some users report dissatisfaction with the Prop 65 label on the bag cautioning against the chemicals in the lining
- Large, bulky bag
Healthworks Maca Powder
Some users recommend cooking this raw version, as it’s traditionally done in Peru.
This is the yellow (neuroprotective) varietal, so if you need your mind to be prepared for a stressful day at work or a final at school, this could be the one to purchase.
Pros and Cons
- Full refund in 30 days if you aren’t satisfied
- Hand-chosen from small sustainable farms
- Resealable bag
- Hormonal balance
- Easily dissolves in drinks
- Inaccurate weight listed on package, 6-ounce difference
- Some users wish it had more flavor
Pride of India Organic Maca Root Powder
Users report this maca powder tastes delightful when they mix it with tofu, peppers, and tomatoes.
Pros and Cons
- Users report this brand having a cinnamon taste
- A fine powder that easily dissolves
- Enriched with Vitamin C, Vitamin B, calcium, and iron
- Users report this mixing well in tofu dishes
- No refund policy
- Users report finding stems in product
If you’re looking to add a nourishing superfood to your dietary regime that will boost your energy, endurance, learning capacity, and mood, elevate your hormones, and increase your fertility, check out one of these top-ranking maca root powder & supplements.
You can receive maximum benefits and results without needing to rely on fertility doctor visits, coffee for energy, or crossword puzzles to aid in mental strengthening. This magical herb has been used for thousands of years, and I don’t see a reason as to why we should stop!